Posts Tagged ‘Healthy’

Sinless Cupcakes

This week I hit a wall. I’d traveled to four cities in 2 and a half weeks and I needed a break.  My body screamed at me, slow down!  What are you doing?!  I had planned to travel back to college for the weekend to celebrate the graduation of 2010, party with missed friends, eat my favorite town food and probably end up sleeping on friend’s dorm floors (pleasant, right?).  Instead, I stayed home and spent the weekend reading, sleeping (in my bed) and baking, the ultimate zen event.  Not my college buddies, but still a lovely weekend.

Not sure about the rest of the country, but in the District, cupcake craze has taken over.  There is Hello Cupcake, Georgetown Cupcake, Curbside Cupcakes, the list goes on.  And while I adore cupcakes, I would also love to eat them without feeling like I’m completely wasting my calories on 4 bites of cake and buttercream.  So this weekend I attempted to do the unthinkable: make a healthy cupcake.  The recipe originated with The Atlantic Food Channel, where I found a recipe for flourless chocolate cake made with beans and greek yogurt.  I’d made the recipe for Passover this year and it was wonderful.  I looked up other recipes by the same author and found an adaptation of Ina Garten’s lemon yogurt cake.  With the wheels turning, I decided to combine the two: lemon cupcakes with beans and greek yogurt!  The only trick: bean are gray.  Not so yummy.  In come the beets.

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables; endlessly diverse and a thrill to cook with.  In this case, they would be my savior from gray, blah looking cupcakes and instead turn them into red-velvet-looking, scrumptious lemon creations (with additional fiber and antioxidents!).

After an afternoon of experimenting, here is the recipe I ended up with:

2 cups flour

4 eggs

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 can black beans (15.5oz)

3.5 oz Greek yogurt (fat content of your choice)

2 lemons juiced

1 cup sugar

2 lemons zested (approx. 2 tbsp)

1 cup beets, grated


1 cup confection sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 and let bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool then ice.  Red sprinkles optional. Eat and enjoy!

Red Lemon Cupcakes

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Borrowed from cucina nicolina with a few minor additions and subtractions:

  • 3 leeks, sliced thinly and rinsed
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped with its woody ends discarded
  • 1/2 pound spinach washed and chopped
  • salt and pepper

In a large pot, sautée the leeks and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil over low heat. When they are beginning to soften, add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook on high heat for a few minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Add the water and spinach, and simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Then pour contents into a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.

For original recipe, click here.

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“Why I’m Not as Thin or as Smart as You Think I Am:  An Examination of Factors That Lead to the Misperception of Valued Social Norms”

Main Lecture


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Worth Reading

One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That.

The F.D.A. may update serving sizes for foods like chips, cookies and ice cream to reflect how Americans really eat.

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After returning from a lengthy stay in Argentina, I am faced with the challenge of making healthful and wallet friendly meals for myself in an effort to shed the extra pounds as well as stay on budget.  One of the greatest things I’ve discovered while attempting to cook healthy foods is that salad is not the only, or best, option for a nutritious meal.  Sure greens and veggies are good for you, but once you add the dried fruit, nuts, croutons, and dressing, you may as well have had a roast turkey sandwich or gourmet veggie burger.

Last night was my catch-up night- the night where I plan to do all the lingering tasks I’ve pushed aside the other 6 days of the week.  On my agenda: laundry, hang a mirror and go grocery shopping.  I must admit, I love grocery shopping.  I love the process of picking out my favorite things and concocting recipes in my head as I wander.  I am that person who lingers in front of the sauces section wondering which mustard would be best for my mustard and shallot vinaigrette.  Some, I’m sure, would find this insane.  Who would spend an hour in a grocery store shopping for only $50 worth of products?  Well….me.

On this night in particular I decided to go slightly gourmet.  On the menu: roasted acorn squash, asparagus with caramelized shallots, and shrimp with garlic and lemon. This menu would also work with roasted pumpkin or butternut squash as well or you could substitute brocollini, sugar snap peas, or green beans, or as Ina calls for, combine them all!

I went home and whipped it all up, poured myself a glass of water and added a few slices of fresh lime to snaz it up and hunkered down to watch Project Runway.  A lovely way to end my day.

Roasted acorn squash

Serves 2
1 lb. acorn squash
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450. Slice up your squash into 8 piece segments. Spray a cooking sheet with pam and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash on top of sheet and repeat with pam, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Asparagus with Caramelized Shallots (interpreted from Ina Garten)

Serves 4
1 bunch asparagus
2 small shallots, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil or Pam

Boil a pot of water and blanch asparagus for two minutes. Then place in a bowl of ice water. Add 2 tablespoons of oil or spray stove top pan with pam and quickly caramelize shallots. When the shallots are translucent, add blanched asparagus until thoroughly cooked through.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Serves 2-3
1 lb shrimp
1/2 tsp minced garlic
half lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Top shrimp with lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Heat pan with olive oil or Pam. When sufficiently heated, add shrimp and turn when downward side is no longer translucent. Cooking time should be 2-5 minutes total, depending on the heat of the pan and size of shrimp.

And as for what I HAD been eating in Argentina, here’s a picture of an outdoor parrilla, barbeque, at the San Telmo fair in Buenos Aires.  Ah Argentine beef!


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